The old saying, ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ or GIGO applies here. In today’s health environment, where medical care is documented electronically rather than old-school paper charting, it is extremely important to ensure the information you enter into your electronic chart is correct. In the beginning, it may seem to be all about ‘clicks’ and/or ‘return on investment’, however if your data is not accurate, it could be all for nothing.
Data integrity can be broken out in three crucial areas.
If your data is not complete, one can assume it’s neither viable or probable. For example, if the patient geographical information is missing or incorrect (city, state, phone), how can you communicate to them for billing, outreach, or surveillance methods? Or if the vitals are not completely entered, will you be able to retrieve your HEDIS, HQM or UDS measures?
I would tend to say that the accuracy of your data has the highest importance. If your data is not accurate, it could lead to a child receiving multiple vaccinations that are not needed, or even possibly be under vaccinated, an outbreak awareness in a regional area missed. Or, revenue that is under inflated or over inflated.
Lastly, your data should be consistent. Data validity tools, embedded on your data entry screens, e.g., pick-lists, master lists, master phrases, libraries, help the end user enter data consistently. At times, these pop-up lists can be more of a nuisance than assistance, so care has to be taken when evaluating where and when they will be helpful.